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Does Your Kid Need a Mental Health Day?

mental health day

Even kids need a day off now and then.

I am blessed with a healthy child who rarely gets sick. She manages to dodge most classroom illnesses and has run a fever just once in the past year.  Her good health is something I am thankful for, but something she sometimes regrets.  Because if you are never sick, you never get to enjoy a sick day.  And even a 10-year-old can appreciate the attraction of a day spent curled up on the couch doing absolutely nothing.

So, what’s a freakishly healthy kid to do when she’s feeling a little burned out from all that fourth grade math and playground politics?  Take a mental health day, of course.

Jody Becker, a mom and guest columnist at Motherlode, learned about the mental health day when her daughter pretended to be sick in order to get one.   Her 7-year-old had no fever or other symptoms to back up claim of being ill, but mom let her stay home anyway.  And was glad she did.

I’m actually a little pleased for her, because I would have never been allowed to do that, and probably never would have wanted to, much. I’m always afraid I’ll miss something, while my daughter seems confident enough to know that if she takes a day off to relax and collect her thoughts, the world will still be there tomorrow.

I am a big advocate of the occasional mental health day.  My 10-year-old is a responsible kid who works hard and does well in school.  If she  says she needs a break, I let her have one – as long as she follows the mental health day rules:

Rule Number 1:  You can’t pretend to be sick when you aren’t.
This is important because it encourages her to be honest about how she’s feeling and prevents me from worrying when there’s nothing to worry about.

Rule Number 2:  All missed school work must be made up the following day.
If she can’t manage a day off without getting behind at school, then she needs to go to school.  This rule also helps her think about the consequences of staying home and, more often than not, convinces her to just get up and go.

Mental health days happen only about once or twice a year around here and I think that’s just fine. What about you?  Do you let your kids stay home from school when they aren’t sick?

Image: richardmasoner/Flickr

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